“Capes & Corsets” profiles two young women with remarkably similar yet seemingly incompatible reactions to the male dominance that defines virtually every aspect of the comic book industry. Bevin Lucas is a student printmaker at the Maine College of Art and outspoken feminist adorned with tattoos of Batman and the Green Lantern. Nicole Jean is a cosplayer; she sews her own meticulously accurate, and thus revealing, costumes and models them at events like Maine Comic-Con. Despite their differences, both Bevin and Nicole respond to comics creatively, engaging with the familiar iconography while using their bodies — the physical manifestation of their alienation — to convey their devotion. The juxtaposition of their distinctly feminine modes of fandom reflects broader debates about sexism, women’s agency, and what it means to be empowered.
Photograph of Nicole Jean dressed as Emma Frost by Wolfgang Daniel. “Capes & Corsets” was produced during the fall 2011 semester at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies with instructor Michael May’s editorial direction. To date, it has aired on NHPR, WRST, WRVO, and Public Radio Remix. If you would like to license “Capes & Corsets” for your station or program, please visit my PRX user page.